CLA celebrates issuance of Jamaica’s 50th marijuana licence

Minister of Industry Audley Shaw (centre) proudly presents Jamaica’s 50th cannabis licence to awardee Outlier Bio-Pharm and its director Brian Thelwell (right) at a ceremony the Cannabis Licencing Authority’s (CLA) New Kingston headquarters on Wednesday. To Shaw’s left is CLA CEO Lincoln Allen. (Photo: Christopher Lewinson)

The Cannabis Licencing Authority (CLA) issued its 50th licence to Montego Bay-based Outlier Bio-Pharma Limited on Wednesday, December 4.

Celebrated at the CLA’s headquarters on Knutsford Boulevard in New Kingston, Chief Executive Officer Lincoln Allen said that the ceremony marks a significant milestone in the agency’s and Jamaica’s journey by extension.

“Our journey continues. The CLA is very much on the ganja train, we are committed to the process and this 50th license is symbolic,” Allen indicated.

Since its establishment in June 2016, Allen further explained that the CLA has issued 359 conditional approvals and over 440 jobs have been directly created in Jamaica’s growing cannabis industry.

In his remarks, Minister of Agriculture and Industry, Audley Shaw noted that CLA’s growing applicant pool is testament to the industry’s appeal and profitability.

Minister of Industry, Agriculture, Commerce and Fisheries, Audley Shaw speaking at the CLA’s 50th licence ceremony in New Kingston on Wednesday (Photo: Christopher Lewinson)

“The industry is moving fast, globally, and even as we celebrate this 50th licence, it’s not a licence for us to slow down. It’s an opportunity to speed up and that we must do. We have to step up our game and be ready,”

“The good news, beyond these licences that are being issued, is the interest [in Jamaican marijuana] continues to be vibrant. For too many years, we have not taken advantage of our unique status,”

Minister Shaw assured that the Government of Jamaica is committed to include as many small farmers as well as the large companies.

“Small farmers must step up to the [plate], get regulated and produce under acceptable standards. I want the small farmers to understand we’re not leaving them out. The Government is very concerned that we have an accommodative programme to involve [them],”

“In exchange for that I’m asking the small farmers to get on board, follow the rules, that we can be truly international and maximise the benefits for Jamaica,”

In accepting the licence, Director of Outlier Bio-Pharma Brian Thelwell, said his dream has come through and now the hard work and truly begin.

Director of the CLA’s 50th cannabis licence, Brian Thelwell of Outlier Bio-Pharma Limited in Montego Bay (Photo: Christopher Lewinson)

“When we started Outlier Bio-Pharma, we had a dream of being one of the leading cannabis companies in Jamaica and with time, to be a model company, globally. Today represents the first stone being laid to pave the way,”